Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Clay History

Soulful vessel, Soulful life - Listen with your hands Pottery is as old as the human soul. It starts with the process of digging a moist, doughy substance of decomposing granite from the earth. Then a shape is formed with the hand and it is heated until all water is removed. The fire leaves behind a vessel or statuette able to survive millennia. Today you can walk into most art or natural history museums and commonly see pottery as old as 6000 BC. You can see the finger marks. The fingerprints of a bygone age or civilization. The mark of a man or a woman’s life. Suddenly, it’s not the pottery of history but the pottery of humanity. It reminds us of how connected our ancestors were with the earth. They used clay bowls to hold wholesome foods in order to nourish their bodies. They used clay objects in the worship of their gods and goddesses, thereby nourishing their souls. Both forms are sacred. Although some of the tools may have changed, the essence of working with clay has not. Today, we find ourselves with wheels and kilns in addition to bones or shells and bonfires. The fact is, claywork still involves the transfer of the human imagination into form through the hands. While a fine china cup is a representation of a mass- produced technical expertise, there is little or some would say no soul in the piece. Soul comes from the heartfelt care that an individual has placed in the creation of something; where that person has given some of him or herself to the work. We can re-introduce ourselves to soulful living through how we choose to nourish ourselves both physically and spiritually. It’s a richness that comes from honoring our creativity and ourselves. And one of the ways to learn about soulful living is by listening with your hands to the ancient lessons that clay can teach. Joey

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